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"Alien #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Marvel Comics

article-cover

Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Illustrated by Salvador Larroca
Colored by Guru-eFX
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
2021, 34 Pages, $4.99
Comic released on March 24th, 2021

Review:

After serving Weyland-Yutani for ages, Gabriel Cruz has finally retired. Can he really put that world behind him and build a life at home with his son after everything he's been through? Once you deal with a Xenomorph, can you ever have a normal life again? Gabriel is about to relive some of the horrors of his past as that alien threat gets up close and personal.

I keep trying to get into Alien and I can't seem to figure out the franchise. I just don't get the hype. I was hoping that Marvel's take on it might be my way in, but Alien #1 is another in a long line of examples that seem complicated, yet follow the same basic formula. Someone finds a Xenomorph egg and puts it where it doesn't belong. The egg hatches and face-hugs someone. Big alien comes out. People die. Rinse. Repeat. The difference in this series is that there are some folks fighting back against Weyland-Yutani. Of course, they're the ones that inadvertently set the formula in motion.

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Letterer Clayton Cowles adds some excitement to the closing pages as an alarm begins to blare. The sound wraps around the page, creating a claustrophobic feeling that you can't escape.

Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson adds a couple of twists, tying these actions back to Gabriel, however there's not enough to grab onto in the story just yet. Gabriel is far from a likable character and that apple didn't fall far from the tree. Everyone seems like cannon fodder in books like this so there doesn't seem to be anyone to invest in.

We can't talk about Alien without mentioning the elephant in the room when it comes to the artwork. Artist Salvador Larocca has been under fire (and rightfully so) for effectively tracing the Xenomorphs from images of toys and artist Tristan Jones' past work on the franchise. It's not a matter of using reference material when you just change a few lines here and there. This also creates some super awkward shots as all of the aliens looks unwieldy and staged, like a goofy collage.

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Larocca's illustrations of the humans are flat and uninspired. They're less characters going through life and death situations than people going through the motions, like a child moving toys around. There's no emotion in the tensest scenes. Imagine someone asked you to make a scared face and then took a picture. That's the kind of play-acting shown. Plus, there are a lot of strange shots, like the anatomy is off. Limbs are too long or bend in strange directions.

Colorist Guru-eFX is a saving grace for Alien #1, creating a unique look for the scenes in space and more of a grounded one for those dealing with the humans. The sequences with the Xenomorphs are surrounded by an eerie blue glow, leaning into the otherworldly nature.

I had hoped this would finally be my way into the Alien franchise, but for all its promise, this is a bland entry that follows the same basic formula as all the stories that came before it. It doesn't help that the artwork is either flat and boring or downright stolen.

Grades:

Story: Twoandahalfstars Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
Cover
Buy from Amazon UK.
Cover
Tfaw Buy Button
Art: onestar
Overall: 2 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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